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Emilia Pardo Bazán (1852-1921)

Biographical Information

Main Works

Featured Work: "The Revolver"


Selected Quotations


Biographical Information

  • Spanish novelist, short-story writer, literary critic, journalist, university professor. Her work is representative of the styles and concerns of Realism, Naturalism, Feminism and Modernism.

  • Raised in a wealthy family with progressive political leanings.

  • Very well-read and educated, particularly influenced by French thought and literature.

  • Wrote extensively on a wide variety of subjects (from literature, philosophy and theology to science, technology, social issues and feminism) and in many forms (novels, short stories, essays, articles)

  • Particularly concerned with the representation, in her fiction, of social differences and contrasts, as well as sexual passions and gender issues

  • Advocate of education and other opportunities for women

  • Bitterly attacked and condemned as immoral by conservative and reactionary elements of Spanish society

  • Appointed Professor of Romance Literature at the University of Madrid (1916-1921).

Main Works

  • Author of nineteen novels including The Swan of Villamorta (1885, El cisne de Villamorta) ; The House of Ulloa (1886, Los pazos de Ulloa); and Mother Nature (1887, La madre naturaleza), and The Black Siren (1908, La sirena negra).

  • Also author of hundreds of short stories, including "The Pearls," "The Revolver," and "The Oldest Story"


  • Problem in 19th-century Spain of acute political and social backwardness, ultraconservative, oppressive, sexist society; religious fanaticism, superstition and ignorance; Spain lagged behind other countries in Europe in economic, social, cultural, and political development

  • A liberal democratic revolution in Spain defeated conservatives and deposed Queen Isabella II in 1868; voting rights, freedom of the press, and a new constitution were established; also elimination of reactionary laws and limitation of the powers of religious organizations

  • After the revolution of 1868, the new government failed to become a republic and instead took the form of a constitutional monarchy; a short-lived democratic republic was instituted in 1873-1874; conservatives and reactionaries waged war against the Republic (1872-1876); the son of Isabella, Alfonso XII, was installed in the throne in 1876

  • Spanish-American War of 1898 led to further disintegration and virtual disappearance of the Spanish overseas empire

  • Throughout the early 1900's the Spanish government was dominated by traditional conservative powers (a coalition of landowners and the Church) and violently suppressed numerous rebellions and strikes by anarchists and socialists demanding civil freedoms, social change and justice, and better living conditions for peasants and the working classes.

  • In 1931 the King Alfonso XIII was deposed and a second republic was instituted with liberal reforms advanced; conservatives however gained control of the government again in 1933

  • In 1936, the "Republicans" (an alliance of Spanish liberals, democrats, socialists, and communists) won the national elections

  • The "Nationalists" (an alliance of conservatives and fascists led by General Francisco Franco) launched a bloody civil war and overthrew the new liberal government (with active support from Hitler and the agreement of Britain, France, and the U.S.). In 1939 Franco made himself dictator of Spain. It is estimated that half a million people died during the conflict, about 360,000 of them liberals and innocent civilians (in addition to battle casualties, many thousands were executed, died in concentration camps or perished in bombing air raids conducted by Hitler's air force).

Selected Quotations

  • to come



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Last updated: 09/20/2004


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